PNP, NBI findings jibe: Drugs killed Pasay partygoers
THE PHILIPPINE National Police on Tuesday confirmed that party drugs—enhanced by alcohol—were to blame for the death of two of the five partygoers who collapsed at an outdoor concert in Pasay City on May 21.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame, PNP Crime Lab director Chief Supt. Emmanuel Aranas cited the results of forensic tests conducted on Kenimichi Miyagawa (not Migawa as earlier reported), 18, and American Eric Anthony Miller, 33.
“Both victims took MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and other combinations and they also took alcohol,” Aranas told reporters. MDMA is commonly known as the party drug ecstasy.
Both Miyagawa and Miller died of “multiple organ failure due to effect of the drugs, enhanced further by the alcohol,” he said.
Aranas noted that the PNP findings were similar to that of the National Bureau of Investigation which examined two other fatalities, Bianca Fontejon, 18, and Lance Garcia, 36. The family of the fifth victim, Ariel Leal, 22, waived their right to have his body autopsied.
Earlier, the NBI said Fontejon and Garcia were positive for MDMA methylene homolog, a laboratory drug considered unfit for human or animal use. One of them also ingested synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as bath salts. The substances—which are not yet considered illegal under the Dangerous Drugs Act—damaged the victims’ hearts and internal organs.
Based on the results of the autopsy, histopathological examination and toxicology tests, Aranas said Miyagawa and Miller had traces of PMA (para-methoxyamphetamine) and MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine)—both “metabolites” of MDMA—in their blood and stomach contents.
At the same time, Miyagawa tested positive for MDC (3, 4-methylenedioxycathinone) and Miller, for amphetamine.
Tests showed that both men suffered swelling in their brains and lungs and damage in the kidney tissues and hearts. Their vital organs, particularly their hearts and brains, sustained a lot of strain due to the substances they ingested, Aranas said.
MDMA targets heart, brain
“The first target of the MDMA, especially if it’s combined with something else, are the heart and the brain. There’s a big possibility their heartbeat sped up and strained the heart. And because there’s a problem with the circulation of blood, the brain will be affected. It will be deprived of oxygen. There are a lot of body parts that will be affected,” he added.
“MDMA also affects neurotransmitters … and normal chemicals in the brain so it becomes erratic. You then notice behavioral changes like hyperactivity. Residual [effects] are memory loss and [decreased] analytical functions,” he said. “This is a vicious cycle that doesn’t end. You will be constantly affected until there is a loss of function in the organs. The victims may slowly lose consciousness.”
All five victims fell unconscious in different areas of the concert grounds and were brought to the hospital where they died hours later. They did not appear to have known each other, authorities said.
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